A three-person World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) expert team is scheduled to arrive in Russia on 9 January to access and extract data from the Laboratory Information Management System and the underlying analytical data generated by the former Moscow Laboratory.
Access to, and subsequent authentication and analysis of, the data remains crucial in order to build strong cases against cheats and exonerate other athletes suspected of having participated in widespread doping on the basis of previous WADA-backed investigations led by Richard W. Pound and Professor Richard H. McLaren.
31 December 2018 was established as the deadline for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian authorities to provide access to this data as a condition of the 20 September 2018 decision of WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) to reinstate RUSADA to the list of World Anti-Doping Code-compliant Signatories. This deadline was missed after a previous five-person mission, carried out from 17-21 December, was unable to access the data due to an issue raised by the Russian authorities in relation to the certification of the equipment under Russian law. That issue has since been resolved by the Russian authorities.
The independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) is scheduled to meet on 14-15 January to consider RUSADA’s compliance status. The CRC’s recommendation will then be considered by the ExCo, via an extraordinary meeting to be held by conference call in the following days.
CRC Chair Jonathan Taylor QC said: “When the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS) was drafted, all stakeholders were very keen to ensure that declaring a Signatory non-compliant was a last resort, to be pursued only after the Signatory has been given every opportunity to comply and failed to take them. The process set out in the Standard, which came into force in April 2018, duly reflects that strong stakeholder sentiment. As a result, the CRC regularly receives late information from Signatories ahead of its meetings, which may or may not demonstrate compliance with the outstanding requirements. It will treat this case no differently, reviewing in detail all information submitted by: RUSADA and the Russian authorities; the WADA audit team that visited RUSADA mid-December; the WADA extraction expert teams; and WADA’s internal Compliance Taskforce. It will then make its recommendation to the WADA ExCo, entirely independently and without any outside influence, as we have always done.”
WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said: “While WADA is obliged under the ISCCS to give every opportunity to RUSADA, we are continuing to act on the basis of the 31 December deadline having been missed, with all the consequences that failure could bring. This week’s mission to Moscow is not only about us following due process and precedent. If the mission is successful in acquiring the data, it will break a long impasse and will potentially lead to many cases being actioned. Regardless, in the short-term, the ExCo will be considering whether RUSADA should maintain Code-compliance status alongside anti-doping organizations of other major sporting nations that enjoy the same.”
In terms of the next steps in the process, as stipulated under the ISCCS, should the CRC recommend to the ExCo that RUSADA be asserted non-compliant and the ExCo agrees, WADA must notify RUSADA accordingly. If RUSADA was to dispute WADA’s assertion of non-compliance, it would have 21 days to notify WADA and the matter would then be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a final decision.